Dear Newcastle

I’m afraid it has been a long time since I wrote my last report – Newcastle were in the Championship, Labour were trailing the Tories by 20 percentage points in the polls, Theresa May had a majority in the House of Commons and Brexit means Brexit was all she felt the need to say about our future.

Now Newcastle have just won their first match in the Premiership, Labour is ahead in the polls, the Conservatives don’t have a majority and the Prime Minister is constantly talking about her future.

What hasn’t changed is the weather, and the negative impact of Government policies on our city and our region.

Election declaration June 2017

But first I would like to say thank you to everyone in Newcastle Central who voted for me, and indeed thank you to everyone who voted. More people came out to vote than in the last election – turn out was up ten percentage points at 67% . And thanks to the hard work and organisation of Newcastle City Council – and the sprinting speeds of many of the helpers – Newcastle Central was the first constituency to declare in the entire country, for a few minutes I was the only elected member of Parliament! I would like to thank everyone who made the election count so quick, smooth and efficient. Labour won over new, non, young and disillusioned voters to our radical and responsible manifesto. But as a city and as a country we have so much more to do to build the prosperous and fair country Britons deserve.

Whilst many thought the Prime Minister could not last the month she looks set to outlast the summer, holding on tenaciously to power. But it is not in the interests of the country when we have so many challenges that require strong leadership and vision from making Brexit work for everyone, to stopping the creeping privatisation of public services to supporting our young people in education and into work. As your Member of Parliament I will be standing up for Newcastle in Parliament and work for a fairer, brighter future for all.

The summer also saw the shocking conclusion to some of the Operation Sanctuary trials with reporting restrictions lifted the extent of grooming, child sex abuse and rape by men, in the West End of Newcastle. I will be working with the police, local councillors, victim support groups and the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure that the victims are supported, perpetrators brought to justice and the city is safe and secure for girls, vulnerable women and indeed everyone.

West End United Reform Church’s Great Get Together event

The summer recess has enabled me to spend more time in Newcastle, visiting community groups and local businesses, taking part in community activities and I’ve posted a few videos to my website and on Facebook. I realise how fortunate we are to have so many strong community groups in our city and I’ll be doing more ‘video reports’ in future. The minority Government means it is likely we will have many more close and important votes in Parliament and I will be obliged to spend more time in Westminster. I hope constituents will understand why I may not be as available over the coming months.

Backbench and Constituency Role
  • I took the Oath of Fealty which allows me to sit as an MP.
  • Since the election I have spoken six times from the back benches on 26th June on the Northern Ireland DUP deal, demanding equivalent investment for the North East, I asked about police cuts in Home Office Questions (3rd of July), GP surgery opening times in Health Questions (4th July), XP devices in the public sector in Cabinet Office Questions (5th July), career choices for women in a Women & Equalities Questions (6th July), and the Metro rolling stock in Transport Questions (13th July).
  • Before the election I spoke seven times in Parliament including in Westminster Hall Debate on School funding in North East
  • I voted for the Labour amendments on the Queen’s Speech calling for an end to the public pay cap, an end to austerity and to retain the exact same benefits as being in the single market.
  • I took part in a Labour party Parliamentary delegation to Germany to discuss Brexit with the SPD.
  • I also met with Keir Starmer to discuss our Brexit position

Voicing opposition to Northumbria Police funding & front office cuts 

Shadow Ministerial Role
  • I retained my role as Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy Science and Innovation.
    • We published our Industrial Strategy during the campaign – I introduced Jeremy Corbyn to launch it in York. It is called Richer Britain, Richer Lives.
    • I spoke once from the front bench in BEIS questions on Industrial Strategy in Commons Chamber on 27 June 2017
    • Meeting businesses and other organisations who are keen to discuss industrial strategy as well as Brexit.
    Media, Organisation & visits Office
    • Ollie Aplin who was our interim junior caseworker has left for a great new job in London. A new part time caseworker, Emma Donaldson has started.
    • The Westminster office welcomed a Hansard scholar from Texas in June and will welcome another from Florida this month.

    Quoted regularly in local media and nationally. Featured on programmes such as Newsnight. Panorama and Daily Politics during the election. Wrote a number of blogs including on Grenfell Tower and Health and Safety, the zombie economics of the current Government and Operation Sanctuary.

    Meetings and visits

    St Georges Day Parade, Irish Centre Quiz, Andy Tarrant (People’s Pension Briefing), CAFOD MP Correspondent Parliamentary Reception, equensWorldline Parliamentary event on the benefits of increasing competition in the UK’s payments infrastructure, , Adult Education APPG AGM, Care England Parliamentary Reception, Mine Action in Angola: The Role of the International Community, Chatham House Africa Programme dinner, ICE North East Region Annual Dinner 2017, ICE Reception, Official Opening of Rise London, Opening of display of archival material and artefacts of Wesleyana , TUC Regional Dinner, Google I/O, Patchwork2 Launch Event, Eliot Smith Company 5th Birthday Celebrations, Friends of Fenham Pocket Party First Birthday Party, CHAKULA Community Outreach, Grainger Market Food Bank event, Inauguration of the Lord Mayor, Preview of a new work by Nick Banks-Edging Closer, Jo Cox commemoration, Federation of Small Businesses Summer Reception, ‘ Challenging Hate Crime’ forum, The Bubble foundation UK lunch, Sarah Holmes Carne (Kenton School), March for Men, Tyne 6 Bridges Leisure Ride. The Great Get Together Spital Tongues, The Great Get Together Iftar, Google’s Age of Automation, Joint meeting with Hal Varian Chief Economist at Google, Jacqui Miller, NFU Parliamentary Reception, SMMT Summer Parliamentary Reception,

    Local Government Association Parliamentary Reception 2017, British German Dialogue in Berlin, IWED Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35 event, Jo Cox memorial unveiling, UN International Day for Victims of Torture, Reclaim the Lanes event, Fenham Association Residents social, Bangladesh study visit reunion and Iftar party, Huawei Summer Reception, Parliamentary Links Day Luncheon, UK Defense Forum briefing dinner, Why are House Prices so High-New City Agenda, “Rainbow over Westminster” photocall, Lord David Puttnam, Urban Transport Group, Labour WASPI Meeting, Power and People in the UK Constitution, Jim Green (Salesforce), RAE Academy Awards, Celebration 241st anniversary of Independence of USA, Canaletto & The Art of Venice exhibition, Dr Neil Morris (NHS).

    Food Bank collection point in Grainger Market

Celebration of Cycling ride, The House magazine Reception, Announcement of the 18th winner of the Caine Prize, Westminster Abbey Institute Summer Party, Sarah Johnstone, Africa APPG Inaugural meeting, lunch with Ben Gomes (Search), Matthew Taylor (Royal Society of Arts), Keith Magee (UCL), CSA Code of Practice launch, Mozambique APPG Inaugural meeting, SCI Summer Reception, Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition Soiree, Lee Johnston (Wildcard), Vicki Steel (Northumbria Police), Westfield School ‘Send my friend to school’ event, Brian Aitken, Christine Herriot with Tony Gribbin (NCC, regarding Rubbish issues), Durham Miners Gala, Bluedot festival, Fake News Panel, Alan Laing (Sage), FDF Parliamentary Reception, Pictfor EGM, ADS Parliamentary Reception, AOA Aviation Reception, Alliance for Intellectual Property Reception, Sikhs for Labour Reception, meeting on Workers’ Rights, Google Summer Party, Fiona Mactaggart MP 20 Years as MP Celebration, IFS briefing on tax and spending challenges, Working for Change drop-in, Cancer Research UK photocall, South Africa APPG AGM, TUC’s reception for Women Officers, Address by TUC General Secretary, ERS Westminster Reception, UK Music Reception, Across The Pond: American Trade & Investment Success Stories in the UK, Roundtable with Paul Arkwright, The Spectator at Home, Green Alliance Reception, Launch of Hintze Hall, Antony Jones & Adam Collerton, Northumbria Water Group Innovation Festival, launch Prof David Grayson ‘Take Care’ book, Northumbria Water Group Ball.

The Bike Garden in Nunsmoor Park

UK manufacturing Reception, APPG Migration Inaugural Meeting, Private Viewing of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft and VR Experience, Launch of Subway Redefining Entrepreneurialism report, British Red Cross ‘Can’t Stay Can’t Go’ drop-in, The Rise of the Robots and the Threat to Millions of Jobs, Royal Mail Summer Tea Party, Channel 4 Summer Reception, Dan Brooke Channel 4, Gender stereotyping in advertising reception,  Stem Cell Transplantation’s APPG Summer Reception, Angola APPG AGM, Trade Union Reception to welcome Labour’s newest MPs, City of London Reception, Launch of report on BAME diversity in the FTSE100, TechUK Annual Dinner, French Parliament & Embassy visit: Valerie Laing-Champrenault (Finance), Cyril Blondel (Western Europe), Yannick Tagand (Middle East), Beniot Hamon; Mark Purvis and Ben Harrison (Big Lottery), Martin Levy and Dave Allan TUC, NUFC lunch with Baroness Sue Campbell, Jacky Longstaff (Town Moor Photographer­), David Green, Bike4Health visit, Mark Lyons (L2 Business Consulting), Big Lottery Fund recess session, Antonia Grey and Susie Burrage (British Metals Recycling Association), John Prewer & Bru Pearce regarding Innovation, Steve Bates (Bioindustry Association), Digital Service and Microsoft, Pop up cafe West End Women & Girls, Ryan Davies (Gospelware), Patrick Gallagher (City Sprint), Dr Tim Bradshaw and Stephanie Smith (Russell Group), Pictfor New and Young Members Reception, Bren Albiston & Sam Mannion (Labour & the Commonwealth), Sharmila Nebhrajani and Katy Ingleby (Medical Research Council), Stephen Woodford & Michael Pickton (Advertising association), Olly Parker (National Autistic Society)  and Melanie Pope (Scope), ReCoCo visit, Richard Harrop and Alex Jackman and Simon Frumkin (EE), Design your own T-Shirt Challenge-Children and Young Peoples Network Summer Activities; NU Foundation beginners running Club.

Speaking Engagements

British Pharmaceutical Industry annual conference, opening of Grainger Market Food Bank, May Day Committee March and Rally, Growing a Sustainable future, Humans of Science interview, UNISON Young Members Weekend, Opening Ceremony of Newcastle Start up week, Black Film British Cinema Conference, Q+A Our Lady and St Anne’s RC Primary School. IME IWED Celebration event, Chair African Economic Outlook 2017 event, Parliamentary Links Day panel, Nigeria/UK relations in Trade Technology , Education & Culture; Policing & IOT launch.

Implications of Brexit from a Local Perspective roundtable, Dodds Increasing Cyber Awareness, Skills and Resilience panel, Pictfor Summer reception, Black Beauty & Fashion Awards.

A Democratic Revolution conference, India Manufacturing Summit 2017, Dr Lomax re Freedom City 2017, chair roundtable on African tech start-ups, Women’s Engineering Society panel at London Feminist Film Festival.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.